Modern-Day Miracles: Seeing God on Sunset Beach

Have you ever witnessed or experienced modern-day miracles? A magical moment with God that filled you with faith and hope physically buzzing throughout your entire being? I am blessed to confess that I have. The Lord never ceases to amaze me.

Sometimes, you find yourself in places you never imagined you’d be in. That was my truth as I sat on Sunset Beach in California, awaiting the next stages of rehab for my battle with heroin addiction.

A Quick Glimpse Into Hell

Unknowingly, my parents had sent me to Narconon, a front group for Scientology posing as a drug rehabilitation center. I had no idea what that meant at the time.

These had been the worst days of my thirty-year-old life. The pure agony of heroin withdrawal is something I pray you never know. The sweats, shakes, nausea, diarrhea, headache, and mental anguish paled in comparison to the persistent muscle spasm in my back that caused me to physically twitch every 30 seconds.

An involuntary spasm in my shoulder blade area made it impossible to sleep. Multiple times, throughout each night, I’d awaken to my elbow slamming into the wall to the point of bruising. Involuntary spasms are mentally exhausting, in addition to being painful. I begged for mercy in my self-imposed hell.

Several mornings, I awoke on the floor, completely tangled in the sheets — like a cyclone. The frightening part was having no recollection of falling off the bed. That level of exhaustion is challenging to comprehend without experiencing it yourself. But it’s discombobulating.

Seeking God on a Beach

Finally, I survived the worst of the detox and sat on a beach with one of their Withdrawal Specialists (WS). At this stop on my road to recovery, I had no idea where I was. I only knew I was being lied to and not allowed to talk to my family yet.

Admittedly, I was scared. This kind but mysterious woman wasn’t allowed to answer any of my questions about the “center” I was going to in the desert. I knew that meant something was off. The recruiter, who they call a “Reg,” had guaranteed me several things before I agreed to get on an airplane, and the biggest one was that my recovery would be on the beach.

The ocean has always been my sanctuary, a place I go to center myself, humbled by the glory of God. Hours feel like minutes when I find a quiet place to be with him. I was so grateful my parents put me there so I could have those moments.

However, they lied to my parents, too. The detox portion of the program was by the beach, but the majority (minimum of 90 days) was in the California desert, several hours away. I was devastated.

Life on the Streets

Prior to arriving in California, I’d survived several months living in my car, spending all day chasing bags, getting into trouble, starving, compromising my morals, and feeding my insatiable opioid and methamphetamine dependency.

My five-foot frame was barely 100 pounds. My eyes were blackened by six months of no sleep. Showering was a luxury I was lucky to afford every few days on the street. Seven days of being unshowered with substances sweating out of every pore was an unbearable feeling that led me to cry in my stench of despair. Brushing my teeth involved a water bottle and toothbrush from the trunk of my car when they got bad enough to remind me.

When I was napping or nodding out, it was in a parking lot of anyplace that wouldn’t bother me. I’d been in the company of tortured people doing desperate things every day for so long that I had become part of them. I longed for the quiet and solitude of the one-on-one therapy they promised me on the beach to rediscover myself. But that wasn’t in my future.

Praying for Peace and Protection

My WS was extremely apologetic as she repeatedly explained: “I’m not allowed to answer questions about the center because you need to remain in — present time.” I accepted her “handling” techniques, but inside I began praying.

Despite knowing Christ, I wasn’t living in the light and feared my prayers would go unheard. The enemy taunted me relentlessly with thoughts like, “Do you think God cares about you after all the things you’ve been doing — you liar, you thief? You knew better, and you still broke all his rules. He doesn’t care about the pain you’re suffering. You deserve it.”

Still, deep down, I knew better. That’s not the God I serve. I wish I could honestly recall my words verbatim, but my memory didn’t hold onto the exact words of my earnest heart in prayer that day. Still, I know it resembled something like this:

“Dear Lord. I don’t know where I am at right now, but I know where I was going if I continued to use drugs. Please get me healthy so I can be a good mother to my daughter again. She needs me, God. I can’t do this anymore. Amen.”

Modern-Day Miracles Come in Pods

My WS was chatting away as we faced the ocean waves rolling in, the breeze lightly salting our faces. My eyes scanned the water, hoping to catch a glimpse of dolphins. I suspected that was unlikely something I’d be able to see clearly from shore.

However, I prayed: “Lord, seeing some dolphins right now would be really cool.” And do you want to know what my God did? You want to talk about instant gratification and reassurance that he was and always will listen when you call him.

A pod of dolphins appeared immediately before my eyes! God is good. My eyes instantly teared as I excitedly interrupted my WS specialist to tell her what I’d just experienced while pointing to the dolphins.

She graciously received the blessing with me and confessed that she believed in modern-day miracles like the one we were experiencing. It was a moment I genuinely treasure to this day.

To sit still on the beach and really take in the grandness of creation is an experience I wish was afforded to me daily. But to know that God was listening to my silly personal request and immediately calmed my fears by gifting me this once-in-a-lifetime sight unfolding before me — was, and still is — magnificent and humbling.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV).

Do you have any modern-day miracles to share?

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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.